Voter Turnout

(post by Jon – don’t blame Patti, and I’m not saying who I voted for or why)

We just had a provincial election in British Columbia.  BC politics is always weird, but this one was off the charts.  ALL major polling authorities had the Liberals (the most right wing party we have at the moment) getting annihilated by the New Democratic Party (the most credible left wing party). Pollsters gave a wide lead to the NDP, but on election day after the votes were cast the Liberals not only won, but gained more seats in an unprecedented reversal of pollsters predictions and now control almost 60% of the provincial legislature.

province-dix
This guy must have kicked a bunch of dogs, ’cause he lost.

The other issue that has been talked about at length here is the voter turn out. On election night it was said that only 48% of eligible voters actually made it to the polls.  Later that number was revised to 52%, but still that’s not a lot of democratic involvement.

People blamed the media for overstating the NDP lead, which left people feeling that they didn’t need to vote. People blamed the pollsters and questioned their legitimacy. People flooded call-in radio shows with a wide variety of thoughts on why the vote went the way it did and why the voters are not turning out.  Veterans called in, enraged, to talk about what they fought for. People offered opinions on voting reform, making it easier to have people vote, and even making voting mandatory.

I don’t think we should make it easier to vote at all!

I heard someone speaking recently that stated that democracy was designed for an educated and enlightened people. And for the most part the educated and enlightened people make a point of voting; for this I feel confidence in our system. But what concerns me is that our society and education system is not turning out fully educated and enlightened pupils.  I’m not saying that teachers are doing a bad job. But teachers do face a challenge when it comes to teaching about the economy.

Think about what you know about the economy and how it works.  Now think about where and when you learned that information.  The economy is the pool water that we all share.  When the pool level is up we have enough room for everyone, even if we are not sharing fairly.  Some might have more water, and some might have less water, but all have water to swim in.  Some might take way too much water and intervention might be needed to make them be reasonable, but not at the expense of the total volume of water in the pool.  When the economy tanks, the pool gets drained and we all have less water to share. Picture being in a crowded community pool where it really is too crowded but everyone is swimming.  Then picture about 20 people trying to share a blow-up kiddy pool; doesn’t mater how hard you try, no one is swimming. That’s the economy.  There’s a lot of things that a government can and can’t actually do, but all that I really want is a fair playing field, then I can take care of myself and those around me.

Now think about teachers.  AS A GENERAL RULE (and I know someone is going to point out some great exceptions), teachers start out as students who are not taught about the economy, then they go to school and get their teaching credentials in an environment where socialism rules and the economy is ignored, then they go to work in a fairly safe microcosm of society where jobs are secure, pensions are livable, and the greatest interaction with the economy is buying a house or paying student loans, where interest rates go up and down for some reason. They don’t get involved in investing capital, suffering economic failures, reinvesting windfalls, hiring, firing, or anything else involved in building enterprise or driving the economy.

I don’t fault teachers for this at all, but it does leave a big hole in the education and enlightenment needed to decide who should govern. Most of the people that I know that know anything about the economy (and some of them ARE teachers), learned it through life experience or through involved parents that took the time to share what they know about the topic.

Stats show that people with more life experience are more likely to vote, which at this point means sacrificing some of your time, getting in your car, driving to some designated place, waiting in line, proving who you are and then casting a ballot.  I do not invite the day that youthful inexperience, who knows more about Angelina’s double-mastectomy than politics, can click on a link on their smart phone, authenticate with some digital ID and then cast a ballot for the Rhino Party cause they think it would be funny. I do invite the day that youth at the age of majority, would be willing to stand in line in the rain to cast a ballot for the candidate that they think is best for our society and economy. But regardless, I don’t care what the percentage is; if only 10% of the population is educated and enlightened about what is going on in the world, then I only want 10% to vote. (I am not saying that we should be all right-wing – a bird needs a right wing and left wing to fly.)

Here’s one of my suggestions: hire a special class of teachers specifically to teach about the economy, the marketplace and entrepreneurship, made up of retired successful business people.

What do you think about voter turnout or how would you address this issue? Do you think that young people today are actually prepared to vote for what is good for all?

~ Jon